Ed Asner, the tough guy with the soft side who starred as the irascible newsroom boss Lou Grant on the legendary sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show and on his own hard-hitting TV drama, died Sunday. He was 91.
His aad demise was announced by his family via Twitter “We are sorry to say that our beloved patriarch passed away this morning peacefully. Words cannot express the sadness we feel. With a kiss on your head — Goodnight dad. We love you.”
As to issues surrounding the cause of his death, publicist Charles Sherman said Asner died of natural causes at his home in Tarzana.
Asner made his big-screen debut in Elvis Presley’s Kid Galahad (1962) and played a detective who helps a suicide-center volunteer (Sidney Poitier) save the victim of an overdose (Anne Bancroft) in The Slender Thread (1965). Later, he was in another Presley film, Change of Habit (1969), as was Moore.
Ed Asner won seven Emmy Awards — five of them for playing the same character, the gruff but lovable newsman Lou Grant, introduced on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” — and later starred in film hits like “Up” and “Elf”.
Mr. Asner served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1981 to 1985 and was active in political causes both within and beyond the entertainment industry. The issues he supported over the years included unionism (in particular the air traffic controllers’ strike of 1981) and animal rights; those he protested against included the American military presence in El Salvador.
Edward David Asner was born on Nov. 15, 1929, in Kansas City, Mo., and grew up in Kansas City, Kan. He was the youngest of five children of Orthodox Jewish immigrants, Morris David Asner, a junkyard owner from Poland, and Lizzie (Seliger) Asner, from Russia.